St James (Dublin)

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Dublin South Workhouse on Historic 25 inch map (1897-1913)
Dublin South Workhouse on Historic 25 inch map (1897-1913)

The Dublin South Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1839. The Workhouse was an extension and re-design of the pre-existing houses of industry and foundling hospital, which had been in operation as poor relief in South Dublin since 1772.The Workhouse was opened in 1840 at a cost of £10,199. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 2,000 inmates. The Dublin South Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of South Dublin City, Clondalkin, Donnybrook, Palmerstown, Rathfarnham, Rathmines, Tallaght, and Whitechurch. 

In 1919, the Dublin North Poor Law Union was amalgamated into the Dublin South Union. The North City Workhouse was repurposed for military use and the inmates were sent to the Dublin South Workhouse. 

The site of the Dublin South Workhouse is now occupied by St James' Hospital with some of the original buildings still surviving. 


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  • My direct ancestor Mary Anne McHale came to Australia from the Sth Dublin workhouse. She left on the 'Digby' ship 1849 as part of the Earl Grey Scheme. I wonder if there are any records about her and her family available still at that location or other locations in Ireland?

    Annette FRASER Morrow

    Saturday 2nd October 2021 11:57PM
  • Hi Annette

    The Poor law records of South Dublin Poor Law Union, 1840-1918 can be searched on

    There are a number of Mary McHales recorded in the run up to 1849. Have you any idea of what age she was when she emigrated? 

    Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Wednesday 15th December 2021 07:01AM
  • My second great grandfather Silvester Kelly is assumed to have been an inmate of the South Dublin Workhouse and dying there on 07 May 1870. Is there any possibility to find where he was buried, whether by the workhouse or someone from outside of the workhouse? Silvester was from Plunketstown Lower, Castledermot, Kildare. The assumption concerning why he went to the SDW could be that his family was originally from the area of South Dublin and/ or had family there. Most of his children went to America and Australia and married out of the Castledermot area. Thank you in advance for any help or information you can provide, Kevin Kelley 


    Wednesday 16th February 2022 11:15PM
  • I’m currently trying to finds records of my grandmother Mary Delaney, who was born in this workhouse on 15th July 1923.  I’d love to learn more about her early years and indeed if there are any records about her parents too, but so far details have been very few and far between.  Any help in pointing me in the right direction on this specific matter would be appreciated, without having to subscribe to a platform. 

    Tuesday 30th January 2024 09:13AM

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